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Student Profiles

Elizabeth Lentz, Middle Grades Education
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Full time mother of two

Program
Master of Arts in Teaching
Hometown
New Bern, North Carolina
Previous Education
Lenoir-Rhyne University, Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Education

Learn More About Elizabeth

How do you manage juggling life as a mother while pursuing your masters?
“I take advantage of study hall opportunities, and incorporate online classes into my schedule each semester which reduces my travel time to campus. The support I get from teachers, administration, and classmates, makes it possible for me to balance home and school life.”

Why did you choose Lenoir-Rhyne to pursue both your bachelor and master’s degrees?
“Going back to school after 25 years is a little intimidating, and I was nervous about getting back into the classroom. The small class sizes at Lenoir-Rhyne made me feel more comfortable and helped me transition into the role of a student. The one-on-one attention you can receive from professors at Lenoir-Rhyne is the it factor for me, and that is what brought me here.”

What has your experience been like with your professors?
“I have had a wonderful experience with my professors. Most professors have an open door policy and quickly respond to emails. They see the time and dedication students put into their learning and are passionate about helping them succeed.”

How did the Bridges to Dreams program help you transition into the MAT program?
“Through the Bridges to Dreams program I was able to begin taking graduate courses while still completing an undergraduate degree. I was able to enroll in 12 credit hours of graduate level coursework during my senior year, which will help me complete the MAT in under a year.”

Favorite things to do in Hickory:
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Hike on the numerous public trails that can be found throughout town
- Watch Hickory Crawdads games while enjoying time with family
- Attend LRU Visiting Writers Series events
- Go to the local theater in downtown Hickory

Stephen Brabandt, MBA
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Engineering Program Director
at Hickory Springs Manufacturing

Program
Master of Business Administration
Hometown
Memphis, Indiana
Previous Education
Purdue University, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Learn More About Stephen

What are your current job responsibilities at Hickory Springs Manufacturing?
“In my current position, I handle all aspects of engineering, including facilitating new product development, maintaining and supporting existing product lines, testing new and existing products, and supporting our division’s manufacturing facilities.”

How do you feel the MBA program at Lenoir-Rhyne will help your career?
“Since I began the program, I have received a promotion at work and am now more involved in top level meetings and at the front end of projects. As an engineering undergraduate, I gained technical knowledge but did not develop business acumen. The MBA has given me insights into the business aspect of my profession, along with a greater understanding of accounting, finance, and marketing. I’m now able to contribute to conversations about strategy and communicate more effectively with co-workers. Overall, I’ve filled in a lot of the gaps in my knowledge of business which has allowed me to step into a management role with confidence.”

As a father of three, how do you manage juggling everyday life with work and your studies?
I think the biggest asset of the MBA program is that it allows me to manage coursework and everyday life through remote attendance. With my family and work commitments, including travel, I can’t always make it to campus, so to be able to still attend class remotely when I’m not in town is extremely helpful.”

What has your experience with professors been like?
“My professors are very helpful and are approachable and accessible. They always answer my questions or help guide me through coursework and assignments. They are very understanding that my job has to be a priority.

Favorite things to do in Hickory:
-
Attend Crawdads baseball games
- Visit the Science Center
- Eat at restaurants and local breweries
- Attend the Hickory Hops festival

Joshua Choice, University Leadership
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Enrollment Counselor - Athletic Liaison
at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Program
Master of Arts in University Leadership
Hometown
Thomasville, Georgia
Previous Education
Winthrop University, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Learn More About Joshua

How were you able to manage working full time while pursuing your master’s degree?
“With the University Leadership program being offered fully online, it definitely helped me accommodate for my busy work schedule. The program offered me an opportunity to study after work and live stream in to different classes. Even though the classes were online I was able to be in contact with my professors if I needed to. I can also travel for work or to see family and am still able to keep up with my studies. Although the program is fully online you definitely still feel like you’re a part of everything at the University – whether it be in Hickory or Asheville.”

How do you feel the program benefitted you both personally and professionally?
“Currently I’m employed as an athletic liaison in the Enrollment Management department at Lenoir-Rhyne. I would like to continue working closely with athletes, and continue advancing my career in higher education. I feel the University Leadership program was a great fit because it has taught me how to be a strong and effective leader. It’s helped shape my overall demeanor and I feel I’ve gained the confidence to step into the position of a manager or director. I’ve also gained a better understanding of how to work with various departments on campus.”

Favorite things to do in Hickory:
-
Dine at the various restaurant options throughout town
- Stay active by participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and boating on Lake Hickory
- Visit surrounding cities such as Charlotte, Asheville, Winston-Salem, and Boone


Briana Sherrill, MA in School Counseling



Enrollment Counselor, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Program
Master of Arts in School Counseling
Hometown
Mooresville, North Carolina
Previous Education
Lenoir-Rhyne University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Learn More About Briana

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree at Lenoir-Rhyne?
“I was able to take advantage of the Bridges to Dreams program, which allowed me to begin taking graduate courses during my senior year of undergraduate studies. This option allows me to complete the program more quickly than I would be able to at another university and at a cheaper rate.”

What type of career do you hope to pursue with your master’s degree?
“My goal is to become a high-school counselor. I feel confident that the education I received during my undergraduate studies, accompanied with the skills I am gaining while completing my master’s degree, will help propel me to the next level in my career.”

What type of relationships have you experienced with your professors?
“My professors seem to be very invested in helping me reach my goals both personally and academically. In fact, everyone that I interact with at Lenoir-Rhyne is extremely friendly.”

Favorite things to do in Hickory:
- Visit the downtown area on weekends where I can listen to live music and shop local vendors at the farmer’s market.
- Walk the hiking trails by Lake Hickory when the weather is nice.